St Lucia Wetlands tour
We began our St Lucia Wetlands tour later than normal at 10:30 am in Durban and made our way up to St Lucia aka Isimangaliso Wetland park. I had been collecting my clients off the cruise ship the Oceana Nautica in Durban and we began our trek to St Lucia stopping for lunch on the road.
We arrived in St Lucia 45 minuted before our boat cruise at 14:30 so had time to do the St Lucia board walk which takes you down to the St Lucia estuary mouth. There are danger signs all over as it is one of the only places in the world that Sharks, Hippos and Crocodiles are found in the same waters.
St Lucia Wetlands tour; Boardwalk warning sign
While were were on the board walk we spotted a Sharks fins on two occasions as well as the Hippos and later a Crocodile and this was just by the opening into the Indian Ocean.
From the St Lucia estuary beach you can also see the amazing vegetated sand dune called Maphelane which is actually the worlds second highest at over 180 meters above sea level!
No wonder St Lucia – Isimangaliso Wetland park is South Africa’s first world heritage site.
St Lucia Wetlands tour; Maphelane from St Lucia beach
We rushed back to the boat and as the wind was coming up from the South it was blowing the water back up stream which is always concerning when you already have water levels so low! We got on the boat and had a great tour of the St Lucia Estuary spotting more than our fair share of Hippos.
St Lucia Wetlands tour; Big pod of Hippos
We had great luck as the expose sand banks meant that we would see more Crocodiles even though the temperature was cool. It was still at one point 35 degrees but dropped 10 degrees as the day progressed.
St Lucia Wetlands tour; Crocodile on St Lucia estuary
This Crocodile at St Lucia had his mouth open meaning he was regulating his body temperature and notice he has no tongue! This is normal as they have a Gular flap which prevents the water from rushing into their lungs when in water but no tongue which is probably a good thing with some of the rotting meat they eat!
Next was a beautiful Giant Kingfisher. We also spotted Water buck, Buffalo, Goliath Heron, Pied Kingfishers and much more! St Lucia estuary is teeming with wildlife!
St Lucia Wetlands tour; Giant Kingfisher
The Hippos are of course the major highlight as it is a Hippo and Crocodile tour at St Lucia. So I had to add one more amazing picture a close up of the face of one of the Hippos with the hairs on her snout. Hippos are most closely related to Whales and Dolphins and communicate with each other under the water as well as with sounds that we as humans can hear.
St Lucia Wetlands tour; Hippos close up
It was now time to end the boat cruise and have a look at a few craft shops. Once we were done we headed back to Durban getting back after dark and safely to the Oceana Nautica in Durban.
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